No One Wants To Fund E-Commerce Companies Anymore

by MR Magazine Staff

When Tristan Walker decided to raise venture capital money for his new startup, a health and beauty company that makes products for people of color, the fact that he was running a tech company — not a retail company — was key. “When I started, I said we’re a tech company. That’s bullshit,” Walker said Monday night at Recode’s Code Commerce conference in Las Vegas. “If you go to any kind of venture capital firm on Sand Hill Road and you say you want to build a retail business, you’re not going to raise any money. So to say that you’re a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business focused on subscriptions … it allows us to really talk about how we kind of focused on tech.” That strategy worked. Walker’s startup, Walker & Company, has raised $33 million from well-known VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures; its flagship brand Bevel, a line of razor blades and lotions for people with “coarse and curly hair,” is sold in major retail stores like Target. But Walker says that, despite his company’s success and home runs like Dollar Shave Club’s recent $1 billion sale to Unilever, raising money as a commerce company hasn’t gotten any easier. “It still is difficult,” Walker said. “No one wants to fund e-commerce companies anymore. There’s been no shortage of e-commerce companies that have just failed recently. No one wants to fund a retail business.” Read more at Recode.